Federal weapons task force meets for the first time

A U.S. federal gun violence task force formed in response to the Connecticut school massacre met for the first time Thursday with Vice President Joe Biden leading a group of government agency chiefs seeking solutions to gun violence.

The meeting in Washington included Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Homeland Security Chief Janet Napolitano and Health and Human Services chief Kathleen Sebelius, along with state law enforcement officials.

Biden opened the meeting by repeating President Obama’s determination to find solutions drawn from the mental health and education communities and from legal experts addressing the constitutional right of Americans to bear arms.

The president said he will act without delay on task force recommendations.

The task force was formed just days after a 20-year-old gunman, armed with semi-automatic pistols, barged into an elementary school Dec. 14 and shot dead 26 people, 20 children and six adults. Earlier, he apparently shot and killed his mother at her house.

The Newtown, Connecticut killings reignited a national debate that analysts say provides an unprecedented opportunity to find remedies to mass killings by gunmen with access to assault weapons.

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